Astral Harvest, an electronic dance music (EDM) festival held about 350 km north of Edmonton each July, likes to call itself a “celebration of art, music, knowledge, community and the human experience.” Sadly, for thousands of gullible patrons, that human experience is plagued by the prevailing notion that the DJs dominating the stage throughout the event aren’t even performing the material live.
It’s no secret that bona fide players of real instruments take a very dim view of DJs who rifle other works and remix them into something they believe is truly unique, giving themselves self-proclaimed artistic licenses to call themselves musicians. What’s worse is that one drug-addled Astral Harvest organizer confessed that almost all of the performers don’t even do the heavy lifting during their set, opting for the “Press Play” method and mimicking their moves accordingly.
“Part of that has to do with the fact that when we get all those turntables, laptops, mixers and processors, we’re so stoned that we don’t even know how to hook up that stuff,” he said.
“All we wind up doing is connect the laptop to the system and make sure it has an Ableton program. Most of the DJs just download someone’s mix off of SoundCloud or something, get the laptop to import the file, hit the play button and just do some cool moves for the rest of the show.”
Fake EDM shows are nothing new, if we are to take as gospel confessions by Canadian dance personality deadmau5 and a first-person account by a Vice writer, who conned the movement into thinking she was the real deal.
Astral Harvest has allegedly taken that path of least resistance to heart, hoping that audiences who regularly ingest drugs like ecstasy get into the bogus “human experience” to the point where they don’t realize they’ve been had. They also pay attention to hipsters who run off names of obscure DJs whom they think are on the “cutting edge” of EDM, when in reality, most of them are hacks willing to be paid next to nothing to grab a spot on the roster.
It’s a strategy that’s so far been successful in conning the faithful. One regular attendee, speaking on conditions of anonymity simply because he couldn’t remember his name, thought the allegations were false.
“Like, you know, that story’s bogus,” he said, syllables slowly drifting into the ether. “Man, when those DJs bust some moves like waving their fists in the air, or pointing at the crowd, that’s totally rad. That’s the interaction we really like to see.”
Another Astral Harvest regular claimed the allegations were nothing more than sour grapes on behalf of musicians who’ve been kicked out of the spotlight by the EDM movement.
“Musicians are crybabies,” she declared. “They’re always saying crap like practice makes perfect and that it takes time to develop. Millennials like me don’t have the time to waste on long-term learning. We’re the instant gratification generation and why bother spending weeks learning a chord on a guitar when you can learn how to mix a couple records on a turntable in seconds? That’s the new art and it’s here to stay, so shut up already!”
However, detractors hope it’s only a matter of time before the truth surfaces.
Said one musician, “With all this fraudulent activity, here’s hoping people get sick of it to the point where they start calling this event Asshole Harvest.”